Labor Management System in Fushun Coal Mines under the South Manchurian Railway Company

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This study, which examines a case of a Manchurian coal mine operated under a Japanese company, elucidates reasons for the extensive use of contract systems throughout modern China. A particularly clear feature of the modern Chinese economy is the so-called "Bao" contract system, which has existed for a long time. It was designated as the "Batou" system, named after a contractor in Manchuria. Historically, the contract system has existed universally during the rise of the modern mining industry in Europe and Japan. Nevertheless, it disappeared along with the development of the urban labor market and with the progress of mechanization in European and Japanese production processes. What is the "Chinese feature" of the contract system? Japanese companies attempted to reform the contracting system in Manchuria to produce a direct labor management system. At that time, Japanese managers restricted the power of contractors, but failed to eliminate the influence of Chinese foremen (Xiao Batou) who oversaw the Chinese miners directly. This study specifically examines the role of Chinese foremen. Results suggest that the essence of the Chinese contract system is embodied in the Chinese foreman function.


  • Economic Research Center Discussion Paper

    Economic Research Center Discussion Paper (E18-1), 2018-09



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